Install replacing previous Linux installation: what partition to choose


I have a laptop where I currently have OpenSUSE installed, whch is what I use daily, and I want to get rid of it and install Manjaro Linux instead.

So when I run the installer, it asks me what volume to install to, and that’s where I need to make sure that I don’t pick the wrong option. I don’t need to preserve anything existing, but I definitely don’t want to brick my computer.

The laptop originally came with Windows preinstalled (obviously), and it still shows up in the boot menu, although it doesn’t boot. Which I don’t care bacause I wouldn’t use it anyway.

These are the partitions that I see from Yast Disk Partitioner:


- /dev/nvme0n1   476.94 GiB        pci whatever
  - nvme0n1p1    260.00 MiB        EFI System Partition Partition  /boot/efi
  - nvme0n1p2    476.68 GiB        PV of system     <<<<<<<<<<<< wait WHAT?
- /dev/system    476.68 GiB        LVM              <<<<<<<<<<<<    ???
  - home         302.90 GiB        XF5 LV              /home
  - root         166.45 GiB        Btrfs LV            /
  - swap           7.33 GiB        Swap LV             swap

and these are the current entries in my boot menu:


- openSUSE Tumbleweed
- Advanced options for openSUSE  Tumbleweed
- Windows Boot Manager (on /dev/vnme0n1p1) <<<<<< this doesn't work (and that's expected)
- UEFI Firmware Settings
- Start bootloader from a read-only snapshot

So now I seem to understand that /dev/system is some sort of “virtual” volume that is actually physically within nvme0n1p2, right?

I think that originally used to contain Windows and its files, and I replaced it with OpenSUSE (including its bootloader, I guess), and that’s why the Windows boot entry won’t boot. I guess the reason I installed it this way, rather than wiping out everything, was either because the OpenSUSE installer gave me no other option, or because I was scared of ending up unable to boot.

When Manjaro’s installer asks me to choose the storage device, which one should I choose? These are the two options in the selector:

  • /dev/system
  • /dev/nvme0n1

I wish I could post screenshots :roll_eyes:

If I choose /dev/system, it then offers me a bunch of sub-options:

  • install alongside
  • replace a partition
  • erase disk

and it seems in this case what I want is erase disk. Which in turn asks me to select a filesystem type and a type of swap, the default being “ext4” and “no swap”.

I would expect this to replace the three partitions that currently make up OpenSUSE with one whole partition that will contain Manjaro, which is what I want, but will this result in a bootable system?

I don’t care whether or not the new boot menu will still include the useless and non-working option for Windows - obviously it would be better to not have it, but it’s fine as long as I can boot Manjaro and don’t end up with an unbootable brick. Also I don’t care about the wasted 250 MiB.

I’m particularly worried because when it shows the future layout, it includes a small “EFI system” partition, and I wonder: won’t that conflict with the existing “EFI System” partition that is currently in nvme0n1p1 which is not going to be deleted?

So, considering the alternative: /dev/nvme0n1. This would kind of look cleaner in principle, because as I understand it, I’d be wiping out basically the entire hard disk, installing only Manjaro and keeping absolutely nothing else.

But if I choose that, there’s no “install alongside / … / erase disk” choice.
Instead, there is a single option:

  • manual partitioning. You can create or resize partitions yourself.

and I’m not sure what that means.
In the future layout, it shows (like in the previous case) a small “EFI system” partition and a huge “Manjaro” one; but also a little bit of empty space at the beginning, for whatever reason.

So, with the former choice I am afraid that I may end up with two conflicting “EFI system” partitions, whatever they are; and with the latter choice I am afraid that I might wipe out whatever “boot record” (or whatever it’s called) currently exists, ending up in either case with an unbootable system.

Also I’m not sure what “manual partitioning” means, i.e. if I will have to manually define partitions in a later stage and won’t know what to do - or even worse, if it will be like “Go create the partitions by yourself in a terminal and come back when you’re done so the installation can continue”.

Any suggestion? I know all this would be easier with screenshots, but having just registered I am not allowed to upload images, and also I cannot upload them elsewhere and link them because I’m not allowed to post links either.

Where were the partition mounted to ?

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This is what the “Mount Point” column (on the right) shows in Yast Partitioner. Is this what you’re asking?

Let’s try another source of information:

I don’t see why not.

/dev/nvme0n1 is likely set to be the boot drive in BIOS. You may need to change its settings in order to boot on the order drive.
And delete the old EFI partition, since it won’t be useful.

The EFI partition serves as the boot record in UEFI mode: Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - ArchWiki

It’s “manual” as in “make your own partitioning”. It’s still graphical.

Suse installed using a PV (physical volume)
and some LV’s (logical volumes) inside it

… one partition - all the space within it - but (virtually) devided into “home”, “root” and “swap”

You want to install to that partition.


delete that - and re-create
or just reformat it

That one partition is where Suse is currently installed.

It might be easiest to first boot the iso, run the partitioning tool to delete that partition,
then shut down and boot the .iso again
to proceed with the installation.

Then I suggest making a backup of the data and start a complete reinstall.

> lsblk -fa
NAME            FSTYPE      FSVER    LABEL      UUID                                   FSAVAIL FSUSE% MOUNTPOINTS
├─nvme0n1p1     vfat        FAT32    SYSTEM_DRV 6E37-4378                               223,1M    13% /boot/efi
└─nvme0n1p2     LVM2_member LVM2 001            yjzDWz-6vT7-3kfJ-b1OA-2mOM-RejB-3Od3MD                
  ├─system-root btrfs                           db47cdab-0318-4b1a-86bd-52369beb9673    139,6G    15% /var
  │                                                                                                   /boot/grub2/i386-pc
  │                                                                                                   /usr/local
  │                                                                                                   /srv
  │                                                                                                   /opt
  │                                                                                                   /root
  │                                                                                                   /boot/grub2/x86_64-efi
  │                                                                                                   /.snapshots
  │                                                                                                   /
  ├─system-swap swap        1                   52663441-8fd3-4a39-9b85-9c17dc389e60                  [SWAP]
  └─system-home xfs                             2f4ba6ef-b343-4f93-a66a-e1e712cfcb81    158,7G    48% /home

So I’m trying to go for the option of installing on nvme0n1 (that is, the partition basically “containing everything else”) and hence doing the manual partitioning which is the only option. Why the installer doesn’t offer at least the “erase disk” option in this case (creating the EFI partition and a main partition for me) is beyond me.

I’m following the User Guide (oh, can’t post links :person_shrugging:), the one in PDF.

When it comes to creating the EFI partition, the guide says:

  • select fat32 as the file system - OK, done
  • Next, choose /boot/efi as the mount point - done
  • Finally, select the boot and esp flags from the list

There’s no such thing as an esp flag in the list.
Should I ignore it and select only the boot flag? Or has it been superseded by some other flag?

Also, the guide says to set the mount point to /boot/efi, but the “EFI system partition” page in the ArchLinux wiki (again, can’t post links :person_shrugging:) says:

/efi is a replacement for the historical and now discouraged ESP mountpoint /boot/efi

Can I trust the user guide?

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The documentation still mentions the flag. But the partitionner bundled in the installer might automatically set it. :thinking:

I didn’t know about that.
/boot/efi should still work, but you can try setting it to /efi instead.

In the worst case scenario, considering you are replacing the current content of the drive, you can simply start over.

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Hello again and thank you everybody for your help.

I am happy to report that I successfully installed Manjaro and I’m writing from it.

I’m sharing how I finally did it, hoping this will be useful to anybody that will get as confused as I was by the broken UI; but more importantly, hopefully, to those who are responsible for maintaining the installer so that they can see and fix the design flaw that made it difficult for me to figure out.

So I’m installing on nvme0n1 and hence doing the manual partitioning which is the only option. Why the installer doesn’t offer at least the “erase disk” option in this case is beyond me

It turns out that the option is available, only through the most flawed piece of UI I’ve ever seen (well ok, this is an exaggeration; one of the most flawed pieces of UI I’ve ever seen).

You really need to see this screenshot, (EDIT: finally I’m allowed to attach it):

This presents you with a one-choice-only radio button (yes, a radio button, not a checkbox), which - SPOILER ALERT - actually works like a checkbox that, once checked, can’t be unchecked.

This is wrong in two ways: 1. A radio button with only one choice makes no sense; 2. an n-choice radio button must always have one of the choices selected by default (or alternatively, require you to choose one). If you need the option to select none to be valid, then you add an (n+1)th option that says “none of the above”.

When I see a radio-button multiple choice where none is selected, I immediately select one assuming they forgot to set a default; and if it’s a one-choice-only radio button, I’ll do the same (selecting the only one available), additionally thinking “this is stupid”.

But no, in this case you actually do have two options:

  • do not check the only available radio button option “manual partitioning”, and proceed to “next”
  • check that option (in which case you can’t uncheck it; if you change your mind you’ll have to close and start over) and proceed to next

By not checking it, you proceed with the unnamed option that actually corresponds to what would be called “erase disk” if you had chosen the other volume. The next confirmation screen will actually use the phrase “erase disk” somewhere.
This creates an EFI partition and one ext4 partition, and no swap partition, just like the graph shows (except it doesn’t tell you that the filesystem type of the main partition is ext4).

Which is what I wanted. Of course I could have accomplished the same with manual partitioning, but having it done for me is more convenient and less error-prone.

Note that, if I chose the other volume at the top, I would be offered 4 options: “install alongside”, “replace partition”, “erase disk”, and “manual partitioning”.
In that case, BTW, “erase disk” also lets you choose the type of filesystem (ext4 or other) and whether or not to create a swap partition, while in this case it does not, for whatever reason.

So, the screen in the screenshot above was actually giving me two options: “erase disk” (but without telling you its name) and “manual partitioning” (I can understand there may be reasons why the other two are not available); but instead of offering them in the form of a two-choice radio button (with “erase disk” selected by default), it does so in the form of a one-choice-only radio button where you can either select the only option, or none; which is equivalent to a checkbox except for the fact that, once checked, it cannot be unchecked.


Thanks, i forwarded it to the bug tracker. Someone might get in touch with you later for more details.

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@ teo8976

Just in case you aren’t aware, this is what the screen in question should have looked like.

In the this example the radio button(s) function as you expected radio buttons to function.


Just in case you aren’t aware, this is what the screen in question should have looked like.

Oh I see, I’m very glad to hear that. That makes much more sense.

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